Verse > Anthologies > Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed. > Poems of Places > Germany
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, ed.  Poems of Places: An Anthology in 31 Volumes.
Germany: Vols. XVII–XVIII.  1876–79.
Black Forest, the (Schwarz-Wald)
Roden Berkeley Wriothesley Noel (1834–1894)
AN ABBEY in a forest old,
  A forest old of pine,
Slowly arose where hills enfold
  Not very far from Rhine:
And lower a stream that swept the walls        5
Fell into silver waterfalls;
Seven slender falls in a gorge of gray,
Where the willowherb was wet with spray;
The rock wore glossy grass like hair,
And a birch-tree shimmered in soft air;        10
Nor yet stole sweetly over the cool
Wave, as it glided into a pool,
    A vesper hymn
    From the forest dim,
    Nor bells from Allerheiligen!        15
Flew twenty summers; the monks were there
  In a cloistral solitude:
How few that heard the chanted prayer
  Divined the worldly feud
’Mong lives monotonous and pale,        20
Whom weariness would oft assail!
Yet holy-hearted, gentle men
Paced the echoing cloister then,
Learnéd, and kindly to the poor;
Some sorely worn who sought to lure,        25
Rest to a weary wounded heart;
And where the mountain cleaves apart,
Such an one, ere the day’s decline
Like an illumined vellum fine,
Mused oft upon the sombre green,        30
Beyond the fluttering watersheen,
Of piny hills, toward the sky
Receding with a softer dye,
And ever with an airier bloom,
Till they are fading to a fume:        35
Now at eve stole o’er the cool
Wave, as it glided into a pool,
    A vesper hymn
    From the forest dim,
    And bells from Allerheiligen!        40
Seven hundred summers; the monks are gone:
  Their abbey in the wood
Resigns in every mouldered stone
  A human brotherhood!
*        *        *        *        *
Ivy and vine and roses vie        45
With old flamboyant tracery:
Lo! the carven corbel where
Hangs a tiny garden fair;
Birds have sown it as they pass
With fairy mosses and with grass;        50
A wild bee in a dim chapelle,
Hovering near a flowerbell,
With a drowsy murmur droning,
Imitates a priest intoning,
With his lowly eyes intent        55
Upon the Holy Sacrament!
Wild geranium and fir
Perfume the air, in place of myrrh,
Breathing from a thurifer:
Winds are jubilant, wail, complain,        60
Where many a blaze of jewel-pane
Heard the tempestuous anthem heave and wane!
    Winds intone a wondrous hymn
    In yonder aisles of forest dim;
      But a frail harebell        65
      Is the only bell,
    Hangs now in Allerheiligen!
*        *        *        *        *

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